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Here’s How to Politely Excuse Yourself From the Dinner Table — Momentarily or Permanently

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Three magic words are all you need

We’ve all been there at a formal dinner party. It’s the middle of the second course, and you notice a major smudge in your mascara in a soup spoon, your cell phone absolutely will not stop buzzing while your kids are with the babysitter, or nature simply calls. And, yes, while proper etiquette dictates that you don’t leave the table until after you have finished dessert, things happen.



So, if you need to get up to make an urgent phone call or use the restroom, or if you are simply overwhelmed by the evening, don’t fret or worry about committing a major faux pas. All you need to do is gently place your napkin on your chair, stand up, and say three magic words:

“Please excuse me.”

You don’t need to make a lengthy excuse. In fact, the less you tell your fellow guests about your excursion to the bathroom, the better.

If you need to leave a formal dinner for good, things get a little more complicated. Ideally, you’ve told your host or hostess ahead of time that you may need to leave the party early. But if a true emergency comes up and you must go, simply rise, praise the dinner and party, apologize, quickly (and vaguely) explain your predicament, and go. It’s not the most polite thing in the world, but it sure beats ghosting.

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